Founder and CEO, ePrize LLC. A pioneer in interactive marketing and promotions, Linkner has been involved in the development of hundreds of digital marketing strategies and e-commerce systems over the last 14 years. ePrize has produced an industry-leading 1,400-plus interactive promotions for clients including Coca-Cola, General Motors, The Home Depot, Yahoo!, Dell, Ford, Northwest Airlines, Procter & Gamble, and palmOne. An early Internet entrepreneur, Linkner founded and built a pioneering Web marketing agency, GlobalLink New Media, in 1995. The firm was recognized as a "Top 100 Interactive Agency" by Advertising Age in 1997 and 1998. In 1999, Linkner managed the sale of GlobalLink to a publicly held firm, delivering an 8,000 percent return to investors. He followed that company up with ePrize. He has won numerous design, technology and business awards, including the 2004 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Crain's Detroit Business 40 under 40.


MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My grandmother, who passed away 20 years ago. Growing up, she always told me - and I've repeated this to my friends and my employees - that in every circumstance, somebody has to be the best, and it might as well be you. Through her nurturing, I grew up believing that I could be the best. She empowered me to think I could swing for the fences.”

LAST BOOK READ: “'Corporate MVPs,' by Margaret Butteriss and Bill Roiter. (Read as part of an ePrize book club that reads and discusses both fiction and nonfiction books.)”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Probably 'passionate' is a strong one - I'm usually pretty fired up. Hopefully 'creative.' And the last one I would say is probably 'intense.' That describes our culture here, too. We always say, this is not a place for everybody.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “We are in an amazing position right now. Promotion has eclipsed advertising in terms of dollars spent, and the fastest growing part of promotion is interactive. We are in a leadership role in a young and growing industry. The opportunity for us is enormous.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “My Blackberry, or as my wife calls it, the 'Crackberry.'”

FAVORITE PLACE: “To travel, Napa Valley. I just love it.”

FAVORITE HOBBY: “Playing jazz music. I used to be a professional jazz musician. Guitar is my primary instrument, but I also play piano and sing. I keep a guitar and amp here in my office, so if I need to blow off steam I have an outlet.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Red wine. I hope that counts.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I actually have a pretty strong finance background. I come across more as a marketing guy but I am very much immersed in the back-end finance stuff. I'm really a finance geek.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “'Creative', not just in a work standpoint, but in improving the lives of those around me, creating an environment where people can be their best.”